Medication vs Neurofeedback
Medications and neurofeedback are both successful in their own way. However, we believe that medications, particularly ADD/ADHD medication, are grossly over prescribed. Many children showing signs of ADD/ADHD are prescribed medication at an early age only to find that within a few years they stop working (or never worked), produce unwelcome side effects, or, most commonly, don’t manage all the symptoms of the condition.
Some of the most frequently prescribed ADD/ADHD medications originate from some form of stimulant or antidepressant. The majority of these medications carry “Black Box Warning” label, warning consumers to use them with extreme caution. These warnings refer to the possibility of serious side effects including heightened risk for heart problems, stunted or delayed growth, psychosis, bipolar symptoms, aggression, weight loss, over-stimulation of the central nervous system, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, tremors, seizures, headaches, and tics or Tourettes Syndrome.
Psychiatric drugs have so many side effects because using them to treat a complex psychiatric disorder is a bit like trying to change your engine oil by opening a can and pouring it all over the engine block. Some of it will dribble into the right place, but a lot of it will do more harm than good.” — David Anderson (Your brain is more than a bag of chemicals).
Neurofeedback yields no adverse effects because it does not introduce anything unnatural into the brain.
The length of treatment is another big difference between medication and neurofeedback training. Medication is only in effect while it’s in the bloodstream. As a result, no amount of medication will ever produce long-term benefits. The medication must be constantly taken to treat the symptoms. Unfortunately this is often a lifelong process, in which the client must live with some of these side effects and with the continuing potential of some of the other side effects surfacing.
Neurofeedback is permanent
Once a course of neurofeedback treatment is completed, no further treatment is necessary. The drawback of neurofeedback is the investment and commitment required to see it through. Given that the treatment is a one-time process and produces no side effects, it is often considered as a preferred alternative by many consumers.
Can I be on medications while undertaking a neurofeedback?
Many clients begin neurofeedback while taking medication. There is no way to predict what sort of effect neurofeedback will have on your medication. As the brain becomes more activated during training and increases blood flow, it begins to function more efficiently. Often clients find that the same dosage seems to have a stronger effect and thus a reduction in dosage may be required.
Not every person’s medications are affected. For some, neurofeedback seems to act synergistically with medications, allowing the medications to be more efficient, or stabilizing the use of medications.
Neurofeedback is complementary to other treatment approaches, and may help them be more effective. A regulated brain tends to use medications more efficiently. Some clients may find it necessary to decrease or eventually go off medication when undergoing neurofeedback. It is essential that you discuss any potential changes in medication with your prescribing doctor.